By Tova Syrowicz
While just about every big-ticket hotel in New York City has a Gatsby-themed package or offer timed to coincide with the release of Baz Luhrmann’s much-anticipated movie adaptation, The Plaza outshines them all with the brand new Fitzgerald Suite, designed by none other than Catherine Martin to evoke the spirit of the Roaring Twenties in all its opulence and glamour.
Catherine Martin, the producer of and costume and production designer for Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby, due out in theaters May 10, decked the suite with Deco-inspired furnishings and fixtures by Restoration Hardware, as well as fabric, wallpaper and plush carpets from her own Metropolis and Deco collections.
When asked what she likes most about the suite, she points to the grand crystal chandeliers, which initially led her to Restoration Hardware. Because they’re somewhat oversized for the space, she shares, they really add a sense of drama to the suite. She loves lying on the suite’s bed and gazing at the chandelier above.
While critics who say the film is not historically accurate would likely say the same of The Fitzgerald Suite—at the time, the rooms at The Plaza were light and bright, and this new suite is dressed in a rich, sultry palette of black, gray and white, all offset by dark wooden floors, smoky mirrored ceilings and shimmering, geometric chandeliers—Martin is quick to note that the suite is a blurring of reality and fantasy (and fiction).
She has recreated the mood of the Jazz Age, the glamour that our collective consciousness attributes to that era, while paying homage to the suite’s namesake with black-and-white photos of the author, his complete works and a cozy reading and writing nook (complete with beautiful coffee table books and a gramophone that’s really a very large iPod dock).
The newest film adaptation of Fitzgerald’s iconic novel plays a major role in the one-bedroom suite as well: Stills from the movie and glamour shots of its stars decorate the walls; artifacts from the film, like Tom Buchanan’s sporting trophies, line shelving (some of it specially built-in); and the Jay Gatsby logo is emblazoned not only on the front door but on the linens as well. And should you wish to watch the film in the very suite it inspired? A RealD TV is ready and waiting for a best-in-class 3D screening.
Martin says that even in the bathrooms (one and one half-bath) she was given free rein; while she stuck to The Plaza’s tiling, she did remove the gold filigree, changed all the gold fixtures to chrome and, of course, added a grand chandelier in the master bath.
While many other Manhattan hotels are vying for a piece of Great Gatsby glamour, nowhere is the collaboration more fitting, as not only did Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda spend many an evening at the hotel, but The Plaza features in his greatest novel as well.